Feb 14, 2019

Bet Shemesh outdoes Sallah Shabbati

oops. This reminds me, sort of, of the old Israeli movie Sallah Shabbati, but worse because they weren't just changing the JNF donor sign, as they did in the movie, but razed the entire forest to build a neighborhood. They have outdone Sallah Shabbati. Reality is often stranger than fiction.

to excerpt from Shemesh Online:
Chiune Sugihara, known as the “Japanese Schindler,” was Japan’s consul-general in Kovno, Lithuania, during World War II. Despite his government’s orders to the contrary, Sugihara signed over a thousand transit visas to Japan for the Jewish refugees seeking to escape Lithuania during the war.
Yad Vashem named Sugihara a Righteous Among the Nations in 1984 and in 1985 a grove was planted in his memory near Beit Shemesh. Hundreds of trees were donated by his friends and businessmen in Japan in his memory.
In January, Nobuki Sugihara, Sugihara’s son, visited Israel with his family and wanted to visit the memorial forest, but was unable to locate it. Attorney David Shor, whose father was saved by Sugihara, investigated and discovered the forest had been uprooted a few years ago in order to build a residential neighborhood in Beit Shemesh, Heftzibah.
After the discovery came to light the JNF sent a letter of apology. They promised to investigate the matter and to plant a new grove in his memory.
The JNF explained that the growth of the neighborhood had led to significant changes in the area, including the construction of a wall around it and the paving of roads. "In light of all these changes, there is no longer convenient access to the site, and it is not fit for use as a memorial," the JNF said. "However, in light of the Jewish people's great admiration for Mr. Sugihara's deeds and bravery, it was decided before the matter was checked in depth to dedicate an additional orchard to commemorate Sugihara."


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